Uprising Roots's flaming celebration

BASIL WALTERS Observer staff reporter waltersb@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, July 15, 2011    

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THERE is a quote from the movie Robin Hood starring Russel Crowe, which says "rise and rise again until lambs become lions". This has been given a new meaning thanks to local reggae outfit Uprising Roots Band.

This group of musicians is determined to become the phoenix — that mythical bird which rises from its ashes.

The Uprising Roots Band recently lost everything in a fire that destroyed millions of dollars worth of equipment and its headquarters at Fairbourne Road in east Kingston.

But on Sunday from the New Kingston venue The Deck, Uprising Roots Band like the phoenix began to soar again.

Under the theme Music for Life, their recovery concert was endorsed by members of the music fraternity who came out in their numbers to lend support.

They all stood out, but it was the blooming prima donna Jah 9, who was the most captivating. In what could be her breakthrough performance, at times in tandem with Protojé, she came with A Warning, her catchy new single that stamped her as the next celebrated female singer from out of Jamaica.

After declaring "This is a celebration of fire," Jah 9's mature, sophisticated, imaginative style, brought a vitalising energy to a wonderful musical experience.

Protojé was also in his element sharing the stage with her as well as by himself, was on a Roll. The fast-rising reggae act who scored his first number one hit with Rasta Love in collaboration with Kymani Marley, also gave us, Argument and Dread.

Another fresh voice with tremendous potential was that of Hannah Lisa Morgan. With her heartfelt outpouring rich, controlled vocal styling on Rastaman Chant (Fly Away Home) and Dreamland, the relatively unknown lead vocalist of the One Drop Band, earned the hearts and respect of the audience with her remarkable delivery.

Iciency Mau and The Mau Mau Warriors, lived up to their name taken from the Mau Mau Uprising which was Kenya's decade old resistance against British colonial rule. The musical revolutionaries from Trench Town, the birthplace of reggae's most famous heroes, in support of their musical allies from the east, asserted in song that there is Work to Do, remaining steadfast chanted Struggle, Can't Take Jah Blesings Away From Me, and affirming We Are From Trench Town.

The 2002 breakout artiste, Prophecy, with his messages of Fight the Fight, Don't Compel Me, Gully Gaza and Bod y Bag, was a source of some delightful and inspiring moments.

Seasoned performers from the Voiceroy to Bongo Herman to Fred Locks proved their timelessness. It was vintage Voiceroys that gave us Ya Ho, their signature tune of the Studio One era, along with So Many Problems, Heart Made of Stone and Mission Impossible.

Bongo Herman never failed to please with his favourite Alton Ellis' classics, Let Him Try (originally done by Rosco Gordon), Rocksteady among others. Sounding as fresh as ever, Fredlocks enlivened The Deck with Never Gonna Give You Up, his 'bust-out' anthem Black Starliner, then tipping his hat to the crown Prince and king of reggae respectively with Silhouette and One Drop before ending with I've Got A Joy.

Displaying the Phoenix's ability to be reborn from its own ashes, the night's host The Uprising Roots Band burned brightly to close the night with Brightest Light Shine From the East, Shine From Within, Skyfiyah, Mosiah Garvey and Under Mount Zion.




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